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The fishing sector remains one of the top industries, contributing to the country's economic growth, Gross Domestic Product, and export earnings, despite hardship and a bleak financial outlook the past two years.

This was reiterated by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, during the annual address to his staff in Windhoek.

"In terms of employment, during 2021-2022, employment figures stood at 18,105 people who are either employed on fishing vessels or on land-based factories, of which women make up the largest component with 64% of employment in land-based factories."

The minister also touched on the formulation of Namibia's Blue Economy Policy, hailing it as a game-changer that would benefit various industries.

"I am pleased to inform you that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Blue Economy Policy has successfully validated the policy and is expected to be presented to Cabinet for approval soon. Many positives are expected to be derived from the implementation of this policy not only by the fishing industry but also by industries such as logistics, mining, renewable energy, transportation, and the biochemical industries, to mention but a few."

One of the ministry's mandates is to curb illegal fishing and harmful fishing practices, and he added that a number of vessels violated the law and were fined.

"The sea patrol missions undertaken for the period under review were 12 (averaging 18 days at sea), resulting in the observation of 122 fishing vessels, of which 38 were inspected and 33 infringements were recorded. The violations ranged from a lack of appropriate documentation to a lack of required equipment on board and fishing gear specifications. 14 of the offenders admitted guilt and settled for a fine of N$132,600. Four case dockets were opened. One case has been resolved, with the offender receiving a total fine of N$225,000; the other three are still under the jurisdiction of the court."

However, Klazen expressed disappointment with the slow progress in the implementation of capital projects.

"I have noted with concern that the rate of execution of our capital projects remains low. The purpose of capital projects is to provide infrastructure for effective service delivery to our citizens. I am therefore imploring those involved in the implementation of capital projects to do everything possible to ensure that the low execution is done away with and that we fast-track the implementation. I visited some of the places where the execution rate is still low, and really, it's a big concern for us as a ministry."

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Photo Credits
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources

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Author
Frances Shaahama